My 2013: Year In Review

I really enjoyed writing My 2012 Year In Review so I thought I’d give it another go with 2013. This is my chance to look back on the year to see what went right, what could have gone better and what I might like to do in the year to come. It’s been a busy year…

January

After spending New  Years Eve in a 70’s style British pub in California, 2013 began. Thankfully my good friends David and Haley put together an artistically shameless 2013 wall calendar. It really set the tone for the coming year. At the onset, their goal was to find 12 awkward photos of me. As it turns out, they had to whittle it down from more than 60! Ya, we’ve had some fun over the years…

Ben Calendar

It didn’t take long for our first moto guests of the year to stop by. Bernd and Heidi from Germany stopped in during their two year around the world journey. Opening up our home to overland travelers is incredibly rewarding. Their stories help keep the travel spirit alive.

Bernd and Heidi

By the end of the month, I was off to China for trip # 1 of the year.

February

I work daily with my colleagues in China and each morning I wake up to an inbox filled with technical emails. But during my new favorite holiday of Chinese New Year, my inbox was nearly empty each morning! It  gave me time to spend a long weekend with friends up at a gigantic cabin in Lake Tahoe thanks to my buddy Charlie.

Tahoe

Amber and I also headed east for a visit to Yosemite. It was perfect timing with a little snowfall and only a handful of other tourists.

Yosemite

But by the end of the month it was time to jump on a westward plan bound for China. China Trip #2. Hungry? Eat some chicken feet…

Chicken Feet

March

With spring in full effect, it was time again for more exploration. Lots of day hikes around the Bay Area with friends, discovery of a local motorcycle stunt park, a trip to wine country in Napa Valley and a visit from my sister made March a fun month.

Golden Gate Bridge

Vilen

Hollister

I spent some more time in front of the computer screen as I learned some basic programming skills with the help of Codecademy. I find programming both straightforward and extremely complex, but intriguingly powerful. I still can’t do anything useful, but it’s been fun to learn the foundation.

April

I hit the big 30 this year. I don’t feel 30… In my mind, I feel like I’m 18. My body however feels more like 65… I continue to struggle with back pain and it’s very frustrating not doing the activities that I love. On the other hand, my amazing girlfriend rounded up 30 letters from 30 of my friends. This was an incredible gift as so many of the wonderful people in my life shared stories from our past. Wow, 30 years have gone by in the blink of an eye…

30

Even though life moves  fast, there is still so much time for adventure and good times with friends. At the start of the month we travelled south to San Diego for the wedding of our friends Danny and McKinsey.

Chair Dance

From there I boarded a plane on another business trip. This time headed east en route to Germany. Even though my feet were only in Germany for about 48 hours, it was exciting see the city of Munich. Better yet, I stayed in a working class neighborhood and devoured several delicious Turkish Kebabs. mmmmmmm.

May

Over the past month, I worked with a software development team in the Ukraine to build a resource for overland travelers. The site is Border Helper. Until now, it had been very difficult to find information about border crossings. This site makes it easy to read and write reviews.

BorderHelper

Furthermore, I went to Arizona for my 3rd consecutive Overland Expo. I gave lots of presentations with advice and stories from traveling the world on a motorcycle. And as always, it’s so fun to be in a place without cell phone service and be surrounded by people who share the passion for overland travel.

SideCar

June

Ryan and Rachel’s wedding took us back to New Hampshire for the first time since Christmas.

Moto Proposal

Meanwhile we hosted more moto travelers. Ken and Carol Duval previously stayed with us in New Hampshire and now this time in California. This amiable couple has been on the road for years, exploring all around the world.

Duval

By the month’s end I was back on a 737 and flying over the pacific ocean. China trip #3.

July

For years I’ve been reading Chris Guillebeau’s blog (The Art of Non-Conformity) and I’ve wanted to attend his World Domination Summit. But Portland, Oregon was always so far from New Hampshire. However, it’s close to California! It was well worth the trip and so inspiring to be around ordinary people living extraordinary lives.

Half way through 2013. Amber packed up all she had, and along with her 11 year old nephew, drove across the country so she could start grad school and work on her masters degree in occupational therapy. While we were both sad for her departure, we agreed that it was the right move for the future. So for now we’ll have 3,000 miles between us.

On the bright side, my back started feeling a little better and I hopped back on the road bike for the first time in nearly a year. It felt great to pedal through the Californian hills!
Biking
My Dad also came out for a visit. We toured all around the Bay Area including Alcatraz and the Santa Cruz boardwalk.
Dad Beach

August

Through smoke and ash from the Sierra Nevada forest fires, I rode up and over beautiful passes and settled in Nevada just south of Lake Tahoe for an Adventure Moto Rally. I gave a presentation and really enjoyed other presentations from renowned racer Jimmy Lewis and track legend Walt Fulton along with some fantastic dirt riding.

Carla

Over the past two months I had been working on another software project. This time I was building it all myself. And finally in September I launched www.RiderMix.com, an exclusive, members only club, for borrowing a motorcycle anywhere in the world.

RiderMix

Asia? Why not… China trip #4.

September

More exploration around the Bay Area. Hiking at Castle Rock State Park.

Charlie

I racked up frequent flyer miles with another flight. China trip #5. At least I had some time for a hike along the Dragon’s Back in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Hike

October

Another New Hampshire wedding had me back home. This time it was my sister’s. As always, it was great to see the family. Life flies by and it’s easy to get into routine. Even though I can’t make time for a big adventure these days, I find it crucial to celebrate life’s small adventures. With the help of the One Second Everyday app, I created this compilation of my daily mini-adventures over the course of a few months.

Motorcycle Travel nuts, like me, wait impatiently all year for the Horizons Unlimited meeting. I was back for another round in Cambria. I gave a few fun presentations, met up with old friends and made new ones like Jeffrey Polnaja from Indonesia who has been riding around the world for 6 years on a Ride For Peace.

Ride For Peace

November

China trip #6. But the really exciting thing about this trip was a long weekend stop over in Japan. It was my first time to Japan and I loved it! I stayed in old Tokyo at a quaint airbnb place and for a few days I walked all over the city, took a train to the south to see a giant Buddha, and even went to a Japanese Onsen (public bath). The weather was great and the food was delicious. Hey Japan… I’ll be back!

Buddha

Then I left the California sunshine for a taste of the bitter New England winter weather! But it was a perfect visit with friends and family (and way too much turkey).

December

I easily surpassed 100,000 miles in the sky this year with the help of China trip #7.

I returned from China and two days later boarded a plan for my final trip of the year. This time for a vacation with Amber in Guatemala! I’ll do a separate post about our time spent in Guatemala, but I’ll share one piece of exciting news – On the top of Volcano Acatenango, in the freezing cold, howling wind and pouring rain, we got engaged!

Volcan Acatenango Proposal

What went well in 2013?

  • I racked up frequent flyer miles with 7 business trips to China and made it to 1 new country (Japan).
  • I gave several presentations about adventure motorcycle travel at exciting venues like the Overland Expo, Tahoe Adventure Moto and Horizons Unlimited.
  • I launched 2 new resources for motorcycle travelers www.BorderHelper.com and www.RiderMix.com.
  • I increased my income and reduced my spending which helped me save a significant chunk of money.
  • I got engaged to the woman I love!

What did not go well in 2013?

Like last year, 2013 was a good year. But as always, there’s room for Kaizen.

  • Although I reached out to many of my old friends, I feel there’s still an opportunity to stay better connected and strengthen our relationships. On the same note, my family lives on the other side of the country and I didn’t spend as much time with them as I’d like.
  • While my back improved, it’s still very far from normal. I started running and cycling again but I’m still not strong enough to do other activities I really love, like basketball and freestyle mountain biking.
  • I didn’t devote any energy to languages. Sure, I learned a few phrases in Chinese to make people laugh, but I’d really like to become more proficient in Spanish and resume my previous studies in Russian.
  • I enjoy writing on the blog but it’s takes dedication and I rarely posted updates over the past year.

Looking Ahead

Though I didn’t set goals for 2013 (even though I said I would), I do have a few plans for the year to come. For one, I have a wedding to plan! There are also business opportunities that I’d like to explore. Of course, I wish I had more exotic travel, but I’ll probably stick to business trips in China while I rack up the frequent flyer miles. It’s been a good year and a good 3 decades. I’m looking forward to another good year and hopefully many more healthy and happy decades to come!

What about you? How was your 2013? Are you happier now than you were the same time last year? Have you made progress on your personal goals? What went well for you this year? What could have gone better?

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2 thoughts on “My 2013: Year In Review

  1. Pingback: My 2014: Year In Review | A Few More Miles

  2. Pingback: My 2015: Year In Review | A Few More Miles

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